Stay-At-Home Seven: November 23 to 30 - Streaming and TV suggestions

Gems to watch on streaming services and TV for the coming week

by Amber Wilkinson

Lovers Rock
Lovers Rock Photo: BBC

We hope you enjoy this week's Stay-At-Home Seven and, if you're looking for more streaming inspiration, you can read our spotlight on Icelandic films here.

Lovers Rock, BBC iPlayer

If you didn't catch the second episode in Steve McQueen's Small Axe TV series on BBC1 last night, then treat yourself to a catch-up of this immersive ensemble treat. The action centres on a London house party in 1980, where the Lovers Rock reggae of the title winds up its waist in the spotlight. Everything about the film slips into the period groove, from the beautifully realised costumes - you can read more about those here - to the music as Martha (Amarah-Jae St Aubyn) sneaks out with her mate Patty (Shaniqua Okwok) for a night of dancing, embarking on a tentative romance with Franklyn (Micheal Ward). McQueen and cinematographer Shabier Kirchner capture the essence of freedom in a crowd perfectly, the camera gliding around the dancers as some pair off, while others find their own groove, whether it's the shared pleasures of Kung Fu Fighting or voices rising in chorus to Silly Games. Join them as they hit those high notes. Read our full review.

Lynn + Lucy, BBC iPlayer until December 19

Roxanne Scrimshaw was 'street cast' for her role as Lynn in this impressive debut from Fyzal Boulifa, and if there's any justice it won't be her last. Her character is a mum, who since falling pregnant young, has seen her life revolve around her family. Her best mate Lucy, in contrast, has just had her first child and circumstances will soon see their friendship start to crumble. She physically articulates Lynn's conflict about the situation with her friend but also the way that reinventing yourself can be nigh on impossible when you still live in the place where you grew up. To help her, Boulifa only gave her script on each day of shooting so that she wouldn't be tempted to judge Lynn either. There's a real ambivalence about the characters and the setting that keeps you guessing about where this drama will lead. Boulifa does a good job of showing the multifaceted nature of working-class communities, avoiding cliche in favour of characters that feel fully developed. The street casting element is interesting because Nichola Burley, who plays Lucy, also began her career - in Love + Hate - via street casting.  This was a very method role for Burley, with Boulifa asking her to start smoking and change to a poorer diet - read what she and Scrimshaw told us about that here. Special mention to Jennifer Lee Moon as the owner of a local salon where Lynn takes a job and who steals just about every scene she is in. Read our interview with Boulifa and our full review.

Bacurau, Film4 on Demand until December 6

Anne Katrin-Titze writes: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ film is breathtaking from the start with Gal Costa singing Não Identificado by Caetano Veloso. From outer space and through the stars we discover Earth and land on a little spot in the Northeast of Brazil, called Bacurau. It isn't found on any map and you might even think that it is a kind of Brigadoon, a village that regularly sinks into the sands of time. We are not in the past, but in the future, one so close that you can almost touch the splendid sunsets, while wondering about the many coffins being delivered. We soon meet Sônia Braga, who plays the town’s doctor. She is devastated and drunk during a funeral which allows us to get a first glimpse at the lay of the land. Something is terribly wrong here. The phone reception is bad. In Polanski Chinatown fashion, the water supply is cut off for the area, also mirroring the very real water shortage in the Northeast of Brazil. Horses from the farm nearby run loose through the village one night. A local politician dumps a pile of books, as if it were a gift of garbage, made to be set on fire (François Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 may come to mind), rather than read. For centuries, the best tales of magic were told and retold because of their combination of the supernatural with our deepest darkest fears, a utopian setting with very real dilemmas, and a hopeful ending that speaks to our sense of justice. Bacurau harbours that heritage. Read our conversations with the directors: Another Layer, A heightened state and In directions nobody goes, our interview with Sônia Braga and our full review.

The Thing From Another World, BBC iPlayer

Jennie Kermode: It's 1951, and a group of scientists at a remote Arctic base see something come crashing down out of the sky. What follows will set the tone for decades of science fiction films (not least John Carpenter's semi-remake The Thing), but it's much more than just an interesting piece of film history: it's a potent chiller in its own right. Hinging less on overt horror than on a sense of existential threat, it confronts its heroes with a threat whose nature they struggle to understand. There are hints of the thinly disguised anti-Communist genre films that would dominate the next decade, but it also makes a positive case for science that contrasts strongly with other films of the era. Margaret Sheridan makes a gutsy heroine whilst macho posturing is cut down to size. Culminating in one of the most famous speeches in genre cinema, it will leave you feeling unsettled long after you stop watching. The film is one of the latest batch of Silver Screen Classics released on iPlayer, read our full review here.

Galaxy Quest, Channel 5, 11pm, Monday, November 23

Jennie Kermode writes: Aliens passing for human at a science fiction convention is an old idea, so if you're going to do it, you have to do it well. Dean Parisot turns the tables by having his aliens, in turn, mistake the cast of a Star Trek-like TV series for genuine space adventurers, and that's where the fun begins. Key to the film's success is the fact that he's also understood it needs to be more than just a spoof, so whilst it's built upon a beautifully observed and immediately recognisable framework, it has a strong story of its own and fully rounded characters. There's a plum role for Alan Rickman as the British thesp who hates the fact that he's best known for playing an alien with a twee catchphrase, and Sigourney Weaver has fun playing against type as the actress confined to the role of dizzy blonde communications officer who repeats what the computer says. The result is a lively adventure with lots of heart, leavened with deadpan comedy and the occasional moment of serious strangeness. Read the full review.

Get Low, Sony Movies, 4.50pm, November 26

This engaging fable from Aaron Schneider, loosely rooted in a true story, stars Robert Duvall as the curmudgeonly Felix, a hermit who has lived so long on his own that no end of myths have sprung up about him in the surrounding area. Fearing he is reaching the end of his life, he decides to throw his own funeral party in an attempt to lay to rest the ghosts of the past. Schneider had been a career cinematographer up to this point and it shows in the way the film drinks in the landscape. The ending may be a little predictable and tending towards schmaltz but these are small quibbles with an entertaining exercise that also offers fine support from Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray and Lucas Black, whose character is reminiscent of a grown up version of American Gothic's Caleb Temple. Murray is also involved with Schneider's latest project, Bum's Rush, voicing a stray dog who strikes up a relationship with Anne Hathaway's bootmaker. Read our full review.

Fish Tank, BBC4, 11pm, November 25

Katie Jarvis has gone on to become a household names as Hayley Slater in EastEnders but she made her debut in Andrea Arnold's film after catching the director's eye while she was having a row with her boyfriend on a train station platform. She plays Mia, a 15-year-old living in a concrete wasteland of tower blocks where negative emotions rule supreme, with Arnold bringing home the power of the place and her feelings - we see the world through her eyes throughout, while the tight aspect ratio boxes her in. When Mia's mum (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender), his initial winning charm seems to offer an outlet of affection for Mia, but comes to breed tension as the film runs on and we start to suspect his intentions. This is a vibrant and volatile portrait of the warring emotions of teenagehood rooted in the specifics of Mia's life. Read our full review.

This week's short selection is a slice of gritty realism from Iain B Macdonald who up until Billy's Day Out had mostly directed documentary - which shows in the realism he achieves here. These days, he's a firmly established telly regular, directing, among other things, Shameless. 

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